Featured UU, September 2011
Jarrett A. Bell is a dynamic, outgoing, 24 year old, originally from New York City, but currently residing in Atlanta.. His frequent challenges to the status quo and thinking out of the box left him feeling confined in the traditional Baptist Church in which he was raised and he has recently converted to Unitarian Universalism.
Jarrett has very diverse interests, including but not limited to computers, law and politics, bowling, and highways. He currently spends most of his time on the road traveling for work as a technical security consultant. However, when he is home, he loves to spend time with family and friends.
EXCERPT FROM ‘THE TENSTONE PAPERS – NORMAL SERIES’
The people that are calling the shots in our modern day society, whether that be Hollywood, politicians, the popular students in the high school class, one’s parents, etc- they hold an idealistic vision of how everyone should look, act, be, become, do, what have you. Their opinions about another individual must never be used as a standard to judge one’s self worth, esteem, or potential. No person should make an attempt to be someone that they are not just so they can be considered ‘normal’ by society’s standards. They do themselves an injustice, as they are unable to live their lives to the fullest. Society is also at the receiving end of this injustice as they cannot reap the benefits of what the particular person has to offer.
It is very important to note in this discussion that all humans have basic needs in order to survive. We have basic physical, mental and social needs. One of those basic social needs is acceptance. When a person feels accepted by others, this need is fulfilled and the person feels comfortable with themselves. The feeling of acceptance that a human has results in that particular person realizing they have a meaningful existence; that their life has a purpose; that they are worthy and capable of positively contributing to society. For the need of acceptance to not be fulfilled results in engaging in the negative behaviors that were previously stated. To prevent this from happening, people need not be labeled; people need not be stereotyped; people need not be peer pressured into being something they are not or doing something they do not want to do. That means for those who have influence on others, these people need to be positive role models and be inclusive. Influential people also need to understand how they carry themselves and treat people will resonate with those who look up to them. Those who have the power to inspire need to be capable of satisfying the basic human need of acceptance by not establishing a normal that is exclusionary and prejudiced.
Poetry – Can’t Tell, by Nellie Wong
When World War II was declared
on the morning radio,
we glued our ears, widened our eys,
Our bodies shivered.
A voice said
Japan was the enemy,
Pearl Harbor a shambles
and in our grocery store
in Berkeley, we were suspended
next to the meat market
where voices hummed,
valises, pots and pans packed,
no more hot dogs, baloney,
We children huddled on wooden planks
and my parents whispered:
We are Chinese, we are Chinese.
Safety pins anchored,
our loins ached.
Shortly our Japanese neighbors vanished
and my parents continued to whisper:
We are Chinese, we are Chinese.
We wore black arm bands,
put up a sign
in bold letter.
By Nellie Wong,
from Encounters: poems about race, ethnicity and identity
- If you like this poem or want to submit a poem for this section, please leave a comment.